My earliest childhood memory of zoos was the now infamous (and thankfully long gone) Southampton Zoo. This was the sort of zoo that gave zoos a bad name, with animals locked in tiny (and even to a small child they seemed tiny) cages. I hate political correctness, but when it comes to animal welfare the pc lobby does have a few good points. This place could have set a world record for the number of rules broken, not least for the chimpanzee, kept in captivity in cramped inadequate conditions who entertained the public by smoking lighted cigarettes they passed to him.
Marwell Zoo is only a few miles outside of Southampton but is light years away from the old zoo when it comes to conditions. Animals are well looked after in large open paddocks ( caged only when safety dictates) with plenty of room to lead as normal existence as possible. It is also world renowned for it's efforts in animal conservation, and has many endangered species not only on display but also in breeding programmes to help re-establish disappearing species into the wild.
The star of the show has to be the tigers. To see such awesome creatures close-up is almost humbling. Seeing them on tv just doesn't do them justice, these beautiful creatures simply ooze power and elegance. Sadly - and to the shame of the human race - the day may come when the only tigers left are those in captivity. Thanks to Marwell and other organisations like them they should hopefully never disappear completely.